Bill Lloyd: Willy Ruby

Review in R2  (Rock n Reel)  

****

Cumbrian musician, record label boss and festival favourite Bill Lloyd (known affectionately as Banjo Bill) rather self-deprecatingly describes his sound, as featured on his long overdue debut album after a mere twenty five years playing,  as “Trailer Trash music”  

It certainly has a base in Americana, and he includes, amongst a steam of impressive covers, songs from the pens of John  Hiatt, Tom Russell, and Townes Van Zandt, but Lloyd has far more strings to his bow with elements of folk and Celtic music featuring too. 

Leading from the front, Lloyd’s robust and powerful vocals and his driving, frailing banjo take the listener on a journey through the Texan badlands of Tom Russell’s ‘Gallo del Cielo’ and the mythical magical world of ‘The White Hare,’ the song recently reworked by Seth Lakeman, with Lloyd grafting a Transylvanian wedding tune on the end, and to Australia via a sprightly version of Men at Work’s ‘Down Under.’ The great thing about the album is that the influences and styles work perfectly well together, and it all feels absolutely natural.  

Lloyd provides the musical adhesive, playing 5 string banjo, tenor guitar, whistle, flute, pipes and drone box, with fellow producer Johno Leader providing bass, (including bass banjo,) guitar, and mandolin. It’s a particularly full bodied and warm sound.  Long overdue perhaps, but very much worth the wait.   

* * * *

 Sean McGhee, R2,  (Rock N Reel Magazine)  Jan/Feb 2011